In Memory of Richard 'Dick' Pajula
Richard L. “Dick” Pajula, 78, passed away peacefully at his home in Rice Lake, March 31, 2022 after a determined, courageous and inspiring 34 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
Dick was born in Ironwood, Michigan on July 2, 1943, to Ruth Menestrena and Bernard Pajula.
His mother Ruth passed away when Dick was two years old. Bernard later married Katherine Fedrowski, to whom his two brothers were born, Don and Dave.
Growing up in Hurley, no stranger to large volumes of snowfall, Dick developed a passion for downhill skiing, becoming an expert -- ultimately using this skill as part of ski disaster extraction team in the U.S. Army. Dick shared this passion for skiing with his family for many years. Dick graduated from Holy High School in Hurley, WI, in 1961. He entered the service in 1961, joined the Army National Guard. While in the guards, he attended Superior State University and graduated with a degree in Business and Accounting. In 1967, attended Officer Candidate School and became Company Commander in Superior, WI. Dick met Joan in 1967 -- they married in Superior, WI, on July 20, 1968. They lived in Superior for two years, then together moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 1969. At UND, Dick earned his Master’s degree in Accounting at the University of North Dakota and became a CPA. In 1969, they moved to Bloomington, MN. Dick joined accounting firm Arthur Anderson and enjoyed working with that firm from 1969 through 1979. During this time, sons Craig (1970) and Jeff (1973) were born. In 1979, the family moved to Rice Lake, Wisconsin, as Dick joined Jerome Foods/The Turkey Store and worked multiple upper management positions including CFO and VP-Operations, including a three year tenure in Faribault, MN. In 2001, the company was sold to Hormel Foods, at which time Dick retired. He then joined Rice Lake City Council, Rotary Club and, as a life-long accounting enthusiast, started his own consulting firm. The family lived in three houses while in Rice Lake – one country home near Lake Montanis, a home on the hill on Allen Street and finally built their dream home on Rice Lake, where he spent his final days enjoying his beautiful view of the water and Wisconsin sunsets. Dick was an active outdoor enthusiast, spending weekends with family and friends hunting, camping, skiing, and golfing… among many other activities. While his MS diagnosis may have slowed down some of these pursuits physically, he remained determinedly active and engaged his entire life. Dick never forgot a name and had an admirable skill of retaining and caring about what was important to each person he met in his life. Dick and Joan developed a love for travel, including Germany, Spain, London, Alaska, Mexico and many cruises. They spent 16 wonderful winters in New Smyrna Beach, FL.
He was survived by his wife, Joan Pajula, sons Craig Pajula (wife Amy) and Jeff Pajula (wife Seema) and grandchildren Jack, Tate, Bianca and Karina; brothers Dave (wife Linda) and Don; Sister-in-Law Julie Stamos (husband Mike) and several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11AM Friday, April 8, 2022 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rice Lake, Father Ed Anderson officiating. Visitation will be held from 4-7PM Thursday at Appleyard’s Home for Funerals in Rice Lake and for one hour prior to the Funeral Service at the Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Multiple Sclerosis Society or Marshfield Medical Center - Lakeview Hospice would be appreciated.